For my first review for Bespoke Unit, I will be evaluating the Davidoff Special 53 Capa Dominicana, a new release for 2020, with a focus on the following considerations:
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- Brand: Davidoff Cigars
- Range: Special 53
- Reviewed Vitolas: 6 1/8 x 53 Perfecto
- Wrapper: Dominican Republic
- Binder: San Vicente Seco, Dominican Republic
- Filler: San Vicente Seco, Piloto Ligero, Olor Seco, Dominican Republic
- Factory: Davidoff Cigars, Dominican Republic
- Handmade: Yes
- Body: Medium
- Estimated Smoking Time: 90 Minutes
- Pricing: $32 / Single [Buy Now]
In the 1990s, Davidoff’s agronomists started to plant a hybrid seed in the Dominican Republic, with the ultimate end goal to produce Dominican wrapper for an all-Dominican puro cigar. In 2002, the Special 53 saw the light of day for the very first time. Now, 18 years later, a new rendition of this very special cigar is being introduced to the market.
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Davidoff Special 53 Capa Dominicana Look & Feel
- Wrapper Hue: Dark Walnut Brown
- Rolling Consistency: Consistent
- Spring: Firm
- Aromas: Lovage, Lemon, Bitter Cocoa
Davidoff revitalized the Special 53 as a Limited Edition Perfecto. 6 1/8 in length by 53 ring gauge, hence the name Special 53. It will be available through select Davidoff retailers. There are 9,700 boxes of ten, and there will also be 1,875 boxes of five available through global travel retail.
The Special 53 exudes beautifully small veins with a glossy, oily sheen. It’s expertly rolled with precision to ensure a consistently straight and even finish. Meanwhile, the foot and body deliver notes of aromatic lovage, zesty lemon, and bitter cocoa.
Davidoff Special 53 Capa Dominicana Review
Paul and CP control the consistency of their reviews by storing the cigars in a Boveda acrylic humidor with 69% Boveda packs for a fixed period. However, I haven’t yet acquired these tools.
Nevertheless, I used an airtight tupperdor container to simulate the same environment, which I monitored regularly with a calibrated digital hygrometer.
Additionally, I smoked three cigars for this review, which were all very consistent in their overall performance.
- Draw: Firm & Balanced
- Aromas: Manure, Bitter Chocolate, Herbs, Lovage, Sea Salt
I sense a slight walnut aroma as well as roasted hazelnut at the beginning, bits of herbal chocolate as well. The cold draw offers lively acidity and freshness, almost like bright citrus fruit.
There was also a presence of lemon peel, some grapefruit, as well as some blood orange. A slight saltiness in the back makes the overall experience quite complex already on the cold draw, with plenty of depth and character.
1st Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Clotted Cream, Walnut Brittle, Salted Caramel
The first third of the cigar is quite creamy. It’s distinctive and characterful. I get a lot of the roasted hazelnut quality that I already experienced on the cold draw.
There’s some salted caramel, a slight bit of chocolate and an interesting herbaceous note, somewhere between lemon thyme and lovage.
A hint of umami gives it some depth and complexity, balancing the very luscious, creamy mouthfeel.
There’s just a touch of bitterness in the back. The entire palette is perfectly stimulated in a very balanced way.
2nd Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Wood Spice, Pepper, Overripe Banana
Moving on to the second third, I perceive a distinctly earthy, nutty sensation. But we’re moving more into a black walnut or roasted walnut quality.
There’s quite a bit of black pepper woodiness and the retrohale offers a lot of pink peppercorn and Schisandra berry, besides overripe banana. A sprinkle of sea salt rounds off the mid-segment.
Final Third Smoking Experience
- Notes: Forest Honey, Charred Maple Leaf, Black Pepper
Once again a distinctly earthy woody walnut impression arises alongside freshly ground black pepper, charred maple leaf, some blood orange that we already had in the very beginning. It is accompanied by an underlying salted caramel and salt pretzel note. Lovage and thyme make their last appearance.
Overall, it is a very characterful, superbly complex and intriguing cigar to smoke. The experience reveals something new with every single puff. An intriguing stimulation of all the taste buds.
Bitter quality, saltiness, some acidity, umami and a touch of sweetness: all these different sensations will appeal to your multisensory orchestra. The finish is lingering, and the residual smell in the room is very elegant with just a hint of wood spice and some salted caramel.
The burn, combustion and overall construction of the cigar are impeccable and certainly up to the standard of Davidoff and what you’d expect of such a premium cigar.
- Ash Backbone: Slightly Flaky
- Burn Angle: Even
- Temperature: Cool
- Draw: Ideal
- Final Smoking Time: 105 Minutes
The Davidoff Special 53 offers a cool and elegant smoke and the temperature remains consistent throughout the experience. Its combustion hints at the excellent construction with both a flawlessly even and thin burn line. Indeed, none of the cigars smoked for the review had any flaws.
Meanwhile, the ash backbone is somewhat flaky. However, it’s stable overall with a stunning dark grey colour that is reminiscent of brushed chrome.
As for the draw, it echoed the pre-lighting experience and remained consistent through the whole cigar, which averaged at around 90 minutes on each occasion.
The Special 53 Capa Dominicana is a limited edition from Davidoff. It will be available through select Davidoff retailers. There are 9,700 boxes of ten, and there will also be 1,875 boxes of five available through global travel retail.
The cigar comes with quite a hefty price tag of $32 or $320 for the box of 10. So, this is most certainly a cigar for special occasions, if you want to treat yourself or present somebody with a wonderful birthday present for the 53rd birthday for instance!
The box is entirely made of wood. It looks very elegant, slender, and pristine. It is, of course, an occasional cigar, but given the overall experience and the intriguing one hour and 45 minutes that you will have with this beautiful cigar, it is certainly great value for money.
And we all need to treat ourselves every now and then!
Pairing Recommendations With A Davidoff Special 53
Due to the hazelnut-walnut sensation that I get from the cold draw all the way to the final third, I would definitely see this sitting beautifully alongside a glass of hazelnut milk or even chocolate milk.
Another non-alcoholic pair recommendation would be blood orange juice, highlighting that citrusy sensation from the cigar.
Speaking of blood orange, if you want to mix up a cocktail, go for a Blood & Sand, dark cherry, citrus orange and vermouth with a touch of smokiness from the Scotch used as a base spirit. Alternatively, I would recommend a Belgian Trappist beer, preferably dark or “Brune”.
Roasted hazelnuts would be a fantastic snack, as well as a scoop of hazelnut ice cream. Steak au poivre would be an excellent choice if you fancy something savoury. Its chargrilled meat contrasts well with the lip-smacking pepper sauce.
Finally, fennel and orange or a classic Waldorff salad will offer a fresher experience.
The Special 53 Capa Dominicana from Davidoff is a most enjoyable cigar. Treat yourself, get one of these beautiful cigars as long as they’re still out there because they will be gone in no time whatsoever!
"A Special cigar for Special occasions. Treat yourself!"
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